"...I instantly knew that they developed this game with love, imagination, and an understanding of what gamers want."
At this year's E3, I had the opportunity to delve into the roguelike caverns of Robot Loves Kitty's newest game "Legend of Dungeon." True to its name, indie lovers will be gabbing on about the epic difficulty and sheer joy instilled in these passages. During my time playing the game, I expended great effort in asking Calvin Goble and Alix Stolzer, LoD's designers, questions about the game, since I simply could not tear my attention away from the screen.
One of many fantasy-driven games released to date, this four-player action RPG embraces a pixelated-esque style wherein players enter randomly generated rooms filled with baddies, doors, secrets, and stairs if you're lucky. Players are tasked to retrieve treasure on the 26th floor and return it to the top of the dungeon, but even Goble and Stolzer have never done this. Collecting equipment, potions, and various other knickknacks, players must learn the combat pattern of foes while working cooperatively with allies. Intuitively, each descent increases the difficulty, requiring players to do a little rummaging around before progressing; alternate strategies may result in permadeath, a staple in the roguelike genre.
Goble freely answered questions regarding design decisions. He seems to place a premium on secrets and discovery, another consistent trait of roguelikes, but also wanted to create a game that was fun and accessible. One of the strongest features of LoD is its multiplayer components. Goble stated that they don't change the balance of the game or difficulty when adding players, because the game gets exponentially harder when allies get in the way, accidentally shoot each other, and take items. At one point when we wanted to go in separate doors, I queried about this problem, and he said that that's when you slap your friend upside the head; bringing people together is a priority for Goble and Stolzer. Upon death, players can still aid allies as they take ghost form and physically block enemies. They can also return to the game if enough resources are picked up from dead enemies.
I have to commend myself for demonstrating restraint and a consideration for others, since I managed to walk away from this game after dying instead of immediately trying again. What I experienced briefly at the IndieCade in front of this television was innovation and depth of design that even most AAA titles can't match. Speaking with Goble and Stolzer, I instantly knew that they developed this game with love, imagination, and an understanding of what gamers want.